My dream for gearboxes


#1

The new axles look great, and apparently gearboxes are just around the corner (or soon will be).

This potentially raises the possibility of building another one of my dream builds - an industrial revolution era red brick mill, in which a single large steam engine turns a shaft running the length of the main hall with individual machines taking power from that. Until now there has been no way to do this.

For this to work, ideally the gearbox would have at least 3 active faces: a main input, a main output, and one or more side outputs. The main input/output RU/t maximum would be determined by material as for other similar GT blocks. Ideally the side output power would be configurable by screwdriver to any amount up to the maximum*, implying there should be no minimum on the main output. Subtract the side outputs from the input amount and then just output whatever is left through the main output. For maximum flexibility, also allow main output face to be selected by monkey wrench.

Does this sound close to your current plans?

(*A simple one-tier-lower output would be unrealistically wasteful for lower powered machines. IRL the output end of the shaft can influence the input end of the shaft, but in GT6 all power types move in only one direction, meaning that chaining multiple gearboxes one after another wouldn’t work as expected. Also, if the side-output is limited to 1/2 of the maximum, which might at first seem reasonable, you would either need to make the main output configurable as well or it would break any system which has the more powerful machines first on the shaft before less powerful machines. Allowing the side output to go from 0 to the full maximum would be the most flexible, most realistic and simplest to implement.)


(Gregorius Techneticies) #2

It will probably MUCH better than what you just described. Imagine a Box where you can put gears on each of the 6 sides and additionally run an axle through one of the sides if you desire to do so.

Edit: But make sure that the whole Gear System is not jamming itself. putting Gears in triangles typically doesnt work :wink:

And the Axle would be connected with safety bearings so that the axle if its directly powered, can go through the whole thing to the opposite side even when the Gears are jammed.

Also there will be a separate Gearbox for transforming the power to a lower level, the upcoming Gearbox will not be that one.


#3

Sounds good, and indeed better than my idea, but I’m a little confused about how it would work: What is the purpose of adding more than one gear if the power can’t be reduced? Also, what would the other “transforming” gear box do? Wouldn’t it need to duplicate all of the functionality of this one anyway?

Some user-interface thoughts: Having the gear be placed with the wrench seems inconsistent with the usage of the wrench elsewhere, where it is primarily used to set the direction of the main face. Whether or not gears are implemented internally as covers, they appear like covers from the player perspective; why not add gears by right clicking with the gear itself like other covers? As well as presenting a more consistent UI with other blocks, that would also provide the UI for configurable outputs (by attaching the gear of the appropriate type), if you decided to add that later (i.e. it could take only a single type for now, but the UI would be unchanged and nothing would break if you decided to extend the gearbox to be configurable later).

Lastly, an aesthetic issue: while a lone transformer looks fine, I find the chains of 3 or so transformers running up to electric machines to be an eyesore and I always cover them up or build them into the walls; the animated axles look so good it would be nice if we could keep as much of them on show as possible. One gearbox where a secondary shaft meets the primary shaft would look good, but if that secondary shaft had to be replaced by a blocky column of “transformer” type gearboxes that would be a real shame. Sometimes extra complexity in a system is nice, but you’re also a pretty great pixel artist and sometimes it’s rewarding to build a system that shows off that work to maximum effect. I would really love to see systems involving axles to be mostly axle with the odd gearbox, than mostly gearbox with the odd axle.


(Gregorius Techneticies) #4

With Gearboxes I meant those things

Going around a Corner because Axles cant just go around a corner like Pipes or Wires.

This one doesn’t reduce power, it is just junctions where you can spread power over multiple Machines.

The Transforming Gearboxes are to be placed at large Power Sources so you can have a line with multiple Axle/Gear Driven Machines similar to how you have electric wiring.


#5

How can that be true if it doesn’t reduce power? Unless it duplicates it?


(Gregorius Techneticies) #6

Right now it works just like the Electric Network and only powers the first possible Machine with everything it can insert and then decides to go for the next Machine and so on, until it runs out of power to distribute. That’s why Transformer Gearboxes will be important later, to split one fast thing into many slow things and vice versa.

It is stupidly difficult to divide 1 by anything without resulting in 0. I have one stupid Issue with my Energy System and that is that everything is usually just 1 big packet, where I can easily change the size of it, but not the amount, because the amount is almost always 1, and that cant go any lower because Integers.


#7

I think I’ll just have to wait for release because I can’t really get my head around how it’s supposed to work right now.


(Gregorius Techneticies) #8

Dude you posted that like 1 minute after the release XD


#9

D’oh! Not used to releases on Saturday.

Had a little play with gearboxes. The “main axle” vs “side gear” priority seems to be backwards compared to my reading of the changelog, but I can make things sorta work if I run the gearbox “main axle” perpendicular to the whole build’s “main axle” (i.e. the gearbox main axle has to point in the direction of the side branches or child axles). I can get it to work in an “either-or” arrangement powering one of several machines, but am I right that there is no way to make it power several machines at once?


(Gregorius Techneticies) #10

That is where Transformer Gearboxes will come into play next release. They can make one Packet into Multiple Packets that can be spread over multiple Machines.

Right now there is only Single Packet Power Sources (aka Speed = Voltage, Packet = Amperage), what makes it impossible right now without turning off all machines but one intentionally so they wont consume Power while one of them is running.

And yeah Releases on Saturday is a stupid thing that happened because recently I ended up delaying “work” on GT6 due to being a bit under the weather, but I got the device for the CPAP to heat the breathed air while I sleep 2 days ago, and now I am feeling better again.

If I get the Transformer Gearbox working before Thursday I might fix my Schedule again with an “early” Release.


#11

To be fair, it felt like you were 5 days early rather than 2 days late…


(Gregorius Techneticies) #12

Well, the main schedule is Thursdays, because that way there is enough time for additional testing and getting obvious Bugs reported that I missed until Friday, and then people can go for playing during the Weekend.

As for Gearboxes, I kinda also need to make Multi-Input Sides a thing so you can have 3 Turbines + 1 output as a thing, and that would emit 3 RU Packets in that case.

Edit: only 3 Packets, not 4.


(Alexander James) #13

If I’m hearing you right, the ‘transformer gearbox’ in step-down mode will take the one large packet from the generating turbine and output two to four small packets to the same face, so that the feeder axle has all four packets running down it to be peeled by the current cornering gearboxes to each machine that uses one packet at a time (usually). Thus the potentially ugly line of transformers will be at the power plant or substation.
This meshes very well with the rather large bandwidth (max packets = max torque?) of the axles.

Therefore, the ability to add more small+large gear pairs to the transformer to make it go multiple tiers is not important.

Making the gears more cover-like would also allow for adding/removing them on a face that has an axle already on it. I can definitely understand needing a tool use to add/remove the gear as in the current system.
But, there is some inconsistency with the primary and secondary facing types as seregheru has called out – perhaps consider swapping the tools (turn axle with wrench, add/remove gears with monkey wrench)?
And, since auto-detecting input faces can be hard, screwdriver to toggle input mode would be consistent.


(Gregorius Techneticies) #14

There is no primary facing at all on those Gearboxes. There is no Facing either. They dont have any. That is why I can just use Wrench and Monkeywrench for them, because they are not rotatable at all nor do I ever plan to mess with rotating them.

And there is going to me multiple Inputs and Outputs, so there is not going to be any primary facing for those ever either. It just is a Box that can have interlocked Gears and an Axle inside it.


#15

I think there’s a behaviour vs implementation confusion - although the gearbox main axle isn’t implemented as a primary facing, setting it feels like setting the facing of many other GT blocks; although the gears aren’t implemented as covers, placing them feels a lot like placing covers on other blocks. Remember that the player can’t see the Matrix while they’re playing.

Anyway, as it happens I’m very glad that the gears aren’t covers, as that would have broken my first non-trivial axle/gearbox build: a silicon purification plant that runs on a single turbine. (Well, right this minute it runs on a single electric motor for testing, but next job is to replace that with a BC-fuel-powered turbine - the gas burners are so space efficient that I have an excess of unused BC fuel).

I have a chain of 5 mixers, each on a dedicated gearbox with an activity detector/redstone switch cover pairing, coupled to another gearbox on the main shaft which has the main axles turned perpendicular. When a machine has nothing to do its own gearbox shuts off meaning the coupled gearbox on the main shaft passes the RU down the line. (Apologies that the gearboxes aren’t visible - they’re there!)

One final embellishment to be added once the motor is swapped for a turbine is an extra gearbox at the end of the line. An “Activity Detector (Running)” placed on that final gearbox will only fire off a redstone signal when none of the earlier machines are drawing power off the shaft - coupled with a timer to filter out momentary stalls, that will be the signal to shut off the burning box. It’s a damn good job the gears aren’t covers after all…


(Gregorius Techneticies) #16

Something like this will be the design for the Transformer Gearboxes btw


#17

That’s an attractive piece of machinery, but do you have the pixel count to capture it?


(Gregorius Techneticies) #18

Now that I think of how I am gonna do that texture, yes I definitely have the Pixel Count for it in 14x14 or 12x12. The smaller Gears would be 4x4, and it would be 4 smaller Gears, not 3. It is definitely doable. I could make it even smaller but then I would need an uneven pixel count to use 3x3 Gears.

I know how to do Art in a way that an abstract Idea is easily conveyed, while being done with the least detail possible. Kindof like compressing Images to the smallest possible size without losing the point of them.

Meanwhile with larger Textures I really really suck.


#19

Sounds tough. To capture the spirit of the device, the gears need to appear to turn at different speeds and in different directions - that rules out a simple alternating edge, unless you made teeth sufficiently different shades that the eye you can track them. Otherwise you’d only be able to fit 4 teeth on the 12 space perimeter of the smaller gear. 4 copies of the 4x4 eats 8 pixels across your texture in both axes, so you’ll probably want to depict the outer overlapping (red) gear rather than the meshed (green) gear. With the large gear overlapping the smaller ones, at least one of the 4 teeth will be obscured, leaving it looking a little bare. That suggests that 6 shading hinted teeth might look better. There is also the issue of looping the animation: with 4 teeth, the animation loops on a multiple of 3 frames; with 6 shaded teeth, the animation loops on either 6 or 12 frames. None of these is ideal - your other animations all appear to be either 8 frames or an integer factor of 8 frames (I’m guessing there’s a “tick mod 8” line somewhere in your renderer?). Ideally, the smaller gear would be 5x5, with a perimeter of 16 - but I don’t think you’d fit that in.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ll make something that looks awesome as always - I just worry that that specific device is ambitious.

Mentioning shading and gears in the same thought just reminded me - the reason the gearboxes are hidden in the screenshot I posted is that they currently aren’t spray-paintable and I didn’t fancy bright orange boxes in my grey-on-grey-chic interior. Is spray-paintability something that might be possible, or do the gearboxes use that same space to track other state? (I can imagine a world in which the presence or absence of a gear is tracked as a flag within the colour field, for example.)

(ps. I do hope you realise that the addition of axles/gearboxes/transforming gearboxes is rapidly creating a context in which a quick-response variable output burner/boiler/turbine will soon be coveted by all…)


(Gregorius Techneticies) #20

Ofcourse the Box is paintable, I can add as many states as I want, I just try to keep the active/inactive states at a singular Byte, and I successfully did that with the Gearbox, with even one bit to spare (only 7 bits used for the whole active/clockwise/counterclockwise thing). Always just try to paint the thing, if it can have Covers it is very likely it can also be painted aswell, and if it has a Facing then it can DEFINITELY be painted. :wink:

Also you can just put dye into a Bathing Pot and paint GT6 things that way, no need to Spray it on.

As for the Texture, you would be surprised how gear alike something can look by just alternating bright and dark pixels in a 4x4 shape with a static 2x2 center. I think the Player owned Safes have such a texture on them for the Number Wheel.

And yep, the whole thing improves the Steam Age massively. I still need to do a Rotation to Kinetic Push/Pull Piston too, unsure how I am gonna do that one later.